Jolly Old St. Nick now has a North Canton home to call his own – one carefully crafted by Hoover High School construction technologies students commissioned for the important task by the North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The 10th through 12th grade students toiled in their school workshop like elves in order to complete the Santa House in a very short time frame leading up to this Sunday’s big Christmas Sing and Tree Lighting. The annual event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on the Hoover Company lawn.
When they arrive on a North Canton fire truck at 5:45 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will likely be surprised to see they finally have their own digs in which to spend the evening hearing the Christmas wishes of area children.
Doug Lane, chamber president, said it’s only fitting that Santa has a proper home in North Canton.
“We decided this year to move the Christmas event back to the Hoover lawn by the Christmas tree, where it had been held for about 100 years. We thought if we’re going to have singers, a Christmas tree, cookies and hot chocolate, then we should have a place for Santa to sit that’s not in the middle of the lawn, under a tent or at the YMCA,” Lane chuckled.
(The event has been held at Bitzer Park the past several years; after the ceremony Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by their fans, would head to the North Canton YMCA for wish-sharing time.)
Lane said he immediately thought of the “quality work” done by Jason Converse’s construction technologies students, so he reached out to the eight-year Hoover High teacher for assistance.
“Basically we commissioned that class to build the Santa House for us. The students got behind the project and they were all excited about it,” Lane said.
And they’ve worked hard to meet their construction deadline.
“From the time Doug placed the order to the time it needed to be moved was a total of 14 school days, which was a little bit tight for a time frame on a building,” Converse said. “(But) with two young kids at home it was a project that I could not pass up.”
Converse designed the six- by eight-foot green wooden structure topped with a red tin roof. “Everything was hand built by the students, from the floor up to the trusses,” he said.
While the chamber commissioned the project, Lane said it’s Westfield Bank – main sponsor of the Christmas Sing and Tree Lighting – that covered the $600 cost of materials needed to create the structure.
The Santa House will be transported to the Hoover Company lawn on Friday morning, escorted by a North Canton Police Department cruiser (necessary because of the 12-foot width of the roof). On Monday the little building will be taken back to the high school, where Converse’s class will use it for storage (and keep it safe!) until next Christmas season.
“We’ll use it year after year so it becomes part of the tradition,” Lane said. “It’s not necessarily portable but we can strategically park it at various locations, which opens up a lot of opportunities for us. Our goal is to have it out longer next year and maybe have Santa hours leading up to Christmas.”